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Entries in Worry (8)

Tuesday
Nov212017

How to Protect Your Peace This Holiday Season

Debbie W. Wilson wisely counsels women on the kinds of attitudes that please the Lord. In this Holiday UPGRADE, she encourages us to forget about people-pleasing and focus on pleasing the Lord.

Debbie asks, "Has trying to please your family and friends drained the joy from your holidays?"

I (Dawn) am sure many of us feel that "drain" from time to time during the Thanksgiving-Christmas holidays. It's not just joy. It's peace too! And self-control. And a lot of other godly attitudes!

Debbie continues

One year, I mentioned how much our son enjoyed going to a relative’s house for special occasions.

“He probably wouldn’t feel that way if you did more,” my Thanksgiving guest replied.

Ouch.

Jesus’ friends Martha and Mary can teach us a lot about the pitfall of trying to please everyone.

Let's visit the sisters before we lose our peace and perspective this season.

Martha Stewart could have been named after the older sister. Martha’s table and foods delighted all the senses, and her culture applauded her.

As is often the case with siblings, Mary was her polar opposite.

Who cared what they ate or when? She was consumed with Jesus. Mary’s choice to learn from the Rabbi flew in the face of her culture and her sister’s expectations.

When we meet the sisters, Martha has opened her home to Jesus and His disciples. While she busily prepared a feast for them, Mary listened to Jesus.

When the banging of pots didn’t grab Mary’s attention, Martha stormed into the middle of the group and turned on Jesus.

“Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10:40 NIV).

Mary froze. This probably wasn’t the first time her sister had publicly corrected her. Dare she look at Jesus? Her cheeks burned, anticipating His reproach.

Jesus shocked the whole group. Instead of chastising Mary, He corrected Martha and commended Mary.

“My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42-42 NLT).

He didn’t reprimand Martha for being busy, but for being worried and upset.

Jesus simplified her focus.

Have you ever let details and pressures rob you of the best?

It is easy to be distracted by our to-do lists and miss the reason why we are doing.

LESSONS from MARTHA

  1. A critical spirit indicates a wrong focus. Need I say more?
  2. Martha took her complaint to the right person. Jesus will tell us the truth. The truth set Martha free. He’ll free us from our bad attitudes and wrong emphases too.
  3. We can change. The next time Martha prepared a feast for Jesus, she hummed while she worked (read between the lines, John 12:2-7)! A single focus lightens our work.

Jesus loved Mary and Martha. And both of them blessed Him when they served Him with uncluttered hearts.

But Mary ministered to His soul.

At the gathering the week before His death, Mary anointed His feet with a pint of expensive nard. The fragrance filled the air and saturated His skin and the tips of His clothes. Someone suggested the fragrance lingered through His final week—even to the cross.

Of all of Jesus’ friends and followers, only Mary understood His mission. She believed He was headed to the cross and wanted the fragrance of her love to be with Him in what lay ahead.

And some of His followers criticized her.

LESSONS from MARY

  1. We have to please only One. Spending time with Him reminds us of what matters most.
  2. Choices that delight Jesus may offend some of His followers. On different occasions, Mary's sister and Jesus' disciples found fault with her.
  3. Staying tuned into Jesus nurtures us, ministers to others, and blesses Him! Jesus promised that Mary’s act would be remembered always (Mark 14:9).

As we celebrate Thanksgiving and enter the Christmas season, let's keep our focus.

A year from now, no one will remember the details of our holidays, but they will remember our spirits and love.

What helps you stay grounded in this busy season?

Debbie W. Wilson—drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher—speaks and writes to help others discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog.

Note: The Christmas to-do List in the graphic is a printable available from babyhintsandtips.com.

Tuesday
Sep262017

How to Kick Regret to the Curb

Counselor and Bible teacher Debbie W. Wilson encourages women to cultivate vital faith, and in this Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, she advises us to deal with mistakes biblically and "kick regret to the curb"!

Debbie asks: "Why would Eve trade paradise for the knowledge of good and evil? Why do I swap peace for worry?"

I (Dawn) can't count the times I've allowed worry to control my life. When I make a simple mistake, I let the enemy play with my emotions until I'm a total mess. But God's Word has solutions for that problem, and Debbie shares a powerful truth.

Debbie continues . . .

Eve and I share a common problem. We've both allowed the desire for knowledge to rob us.

Choosing fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil made her miserable. My desire for the knowledge of good, better, and best has stolen my joy.

Maybe you can relate.

I bought a neutral-colored jacket I thought would go with everything. But after I brought it home, I couldn’t find anything I wanted to wear with it. The time to return it ran out before I realized my purchase wasn’t as smart as I’d thought.

“If only I’d thought it through better,” I moaned.

That’s when the Eve analogy struck me. The serpent told Eve that if she ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she would be like God (Gen. 3:5).

  • Was my “If only I’d known,” an echo of Eve’s obsession with the tree of knowledge?

  • Was I trying to be like God—all-knowing?

  • Is my desire "to know" a way to replace my need for God?

Have you let decisions you’d like to do over with the knowledge you’ve gained from time and experience steal your peace?

Even though God’s Word and Spirit guide us, we still learn as we go.

Even young Jesus “grew in knowledge.”

Where did I get the idea errors are catastrophes? I've felt worse over a mistake than over sin.

I knew God forgives sin, but I felt I had to pay for my mistakes.

Here’s some grace and help to avoid or handle REGRET.

1. BEFORE a decision, ask God to lead you.

That may mean asking Him to help us want His will. God’s will is always perfect. Ours is shortsighted and inconsistent.

I practiced this during a visit to Chicago. A pair of boots captivated me. They were a timeless style, fit like a glove, and gorgeous. It was snowing outside (I needed them). I peeked at the price. Gasp!

The store held my size to give me time to decide. A battle between why they made sense and why I was CRAZY to think about them ping-ponged through my mind. The next morning I asked God to guide me.

I opened my Bible and read out loud. “Spare no expense!” (Is. 54:2 NLT).

Ginny and I laughed out loud. “Mom, you turned there on purpose.”

I hadn't, but it assured me God would lead me.

When I tried the boots again, they rubbed my heels. I walked away without feeling deprived.

2. BEFORE and AFTER a decision, exercise thanksgiving.

God causes “all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28 NASB).

Even when a decision doesn’t turn out like we’d hoped, we thank Him that He will use it for our good.

Maybe my jacket is meant for someone else or for another season. Perhaps it’s a reminder God’s bigger than my shortcomings.

3. LIGHTEN UP!

God created us to need Him.  

Joy comes from experiencing Jesus, not from avoiding mistakes.

There were two trees in the center of Eden. Satan diverted Eve away from the tree of life to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Jesus is “the life” (John 14:6). Let's not let a decision draw us away from Him.

Before we left Chicago a pair of ankle boots grabbed my attention. Cute, comfortable, and affordable!

What pending or past decision wants to steal your peace?

Debbie W. Wilson, drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, speaks and writes to help others discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at debbieWwilson.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of kconnors-Morguefile.

Thursday
Apr062017

Let Us Spray

In Rhonda Rhea's case, the funnybone connects to the heart! In this Prayer UPGRADE, she encourages us to spend time where our strength lies.

"Sometimes I’m tempted to take some time off from hairspray," Rhonda says. "Sometime when I’m planning to go nowhere. And I mean absolutely nowhere. I think I would call it a spray-cation."

Don't get me (Dawn) started on hairspray. It's been a long time since my free-flowing "hippie" years. Now I'm in the "helmet" stage—as in, you couldn't dent my hair!

Rhonda continues . . .

It’s funny because I almost remember what it was like to freely run my fingers through my hair. It’s been a long time, though.

These days I invest in a lot of hair products. The fingers may go in, but I’m telling you right now. They’re not coming out.

I have to keep the crazy assortment of hair sprays, gels, mousses and goops, because it takes a different concoction for every style. A brew for every do, as it were.

When constructing an up-do, for instance, you sort of have to pour footings. I use a product that’s referred to as styling mousse, but I think it might actually be some sort of rebar.

Still—not to split hairs or anything—but it’s good to remember that if you don’t want to have to wrestle with your hair, you have to start with a good goo-foundation.

As for real life battles, if you want victory there, you have to start with a good spiritual foundation. You have to invest.

Time invested in connecting with the Father in prayer is absolutely vital.

  • Are you wrestling with your flesh on some issue or another? Take it to Him.
  • Struggling with a decision? Lay it at His feet.
  • Grappling with a fearful situation that has your hair standing on end—even before the mousse? Spend time with Him and the battle is all but over.

The God who created everything, the One who never tires, the One who has all power and who also promises to grant strength to those who will rely on Him—He is the One who will give victory. There’s not a single battle we can ever face that He doesn’t have the power to win.

Isaiah 40:28-31 spells it out.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow wear, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint” (HCSB).

So it’s eyes off of the battle that threatens to overwhelm us. And eyes on the God who simply cannot be overwhelmed.

The evil one wants to keep us focused on the problems, frustrations and pains of the battle. But the Lord wants us to take our eyes off all of that and fix them firmly on Him. More firmly fixed than the surest hair-glue.

We can do that through prayer. And that’s where our strength will be found.

Feeling weary? Powerless? Like you could easily stumble and fall?

Without a doubt, the best place to fall is to your knees.

Trust in the One who will be your strength. Fall before Him in prayer and you will find everything you need for soaring—really soaring—through every battle.

You win. And it’s the kind of victory that’s sure and complete.

Not the kind you win by just by a hair.

Are you trusting in your own strength today? Isn't it time for a talk with your Father in heaven?

Friends, "Let us spray."

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist, radio personality, speaker and author of 10 books, including How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?, Espresso Your Faith - 30 Shots of God's Word to Wake You Up, and a book designed to encourage Pastor's Wives (P-Dubs): Join the Insanity. Rhonda, a sunny pastor's wife, lives near St. Louis and is "Mom" to five grown children. Find out more at www.RhondaRhea.com.

Thursday
Mar092017

Daaa-Dum... Daaa-Dum... Daa-Dum... Daa-Dum.

Nothing surprises me when I read something from Kaley Faith Rhea or her mom, Rhonda. These two combine humor with wise insights every time. In this UPLIFT post, Kaley helps us combat worry.

"You know how a lot of times you’ll have your deepest, most philosophically significant thoughts in the solitude of the shower or bathtub?" Kaley asks. "Allow me to share an example of ... NOT that."

Didn't I (Dawn) tell you? Insights from a bathtub? Of course.

Kaley continues . . .

The other night I was tired. Not exhausted. Just that mid-week fatigue that crops up now and again.

Decided to take a bath. Because that sounds like pure heaven for a tired person.

My tired brain was, I suppose, off doing its own thing, and I nicked my knee while shaving my legs. Little bit of blood, no big deal; you know the drill.

In that moment, the thought that formed in my mind while watching that little bit of blood in the water was:

Uh, oh. I had better watch out for sharks.

Yes, go ahead and read that thought again as slowly and as condescendingly as you can. It’s fine.

Because I worried about sharks. While sitting in my bathtub.

      

If I could just take a moment here—I live in Missouri. Probably the most landlocked state in the United States. If TV and books and the internet weren’t around, I would not know an animal called a shark exists.

And none of that’s even relevant actually because sharks do not happen in bathtubs. At least not by accident. Brain, what were you doing?

Later, after the bath (because this is not a story of deep shower thoughts), it hit me how my mind is so programmed to worry.

I can worry in my sleep. Without breaking a sweat—without even noticing—I can worry about things that are irrelevant, implausible or imaginary.

That is where my mind, in its natural state, wants to live.

That is not a happy place to live. There are sharks there apparently.

Philippians 4, verse 6 reads, do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” I hear and see this verse quoted a lot. Maybe you do, too, and you’re like me and think Okay, easier said than done, Paul, thanks.

But have you noticed this verse does not begin with a capital letter? There is a run-up to this statement in verse 5 that causes it to make so much more sense. It says simply, “The Lord is at hand.”

“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious…”

Let me tell you, something, friend. If I am at hand, you need to be anxious. If you are at hand, worry is the completely correct response. But the Lord is at hand. Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became flesh, the One through whom everything that is made has been made, the defeater of death, our champion, risen from the grave—He is at hand. Don’t worry.

Furthermore—and I love this—when the Lord is at hand, instead of worrying, I can pray. When the Lord is at hand, I can check my arrogance at the door. When the Lord is at hand, I can be thankful.

What?

I have a brain built here in a fallen world. It will tell me the appropriate response to every cut and scrape is to worry about sharks.

And you know what? Sometimes there really are sharks out there. But how wonderful to know my Lord knows this. He knit my brain together. And in his incomprehensible kindness, He’s already told me what to do when I feel worried. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel so loved.

Final Words:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:2a).

A prayer when faced by our sharks, real or imagined:

Lord Jesus, thank You so much for being everything I need. For being bigger than my darkest fears and for loving me enough to allow me to draw close to You when I’m anxious. When I am tempted to give in to worry, renew my mind, Lord, by Your Spirit, and set it on you. AMEN!

Kaley Faith Rhea is the co-author of Turtles in the Road, a novel releasing in a few weeks. Along with writing and teaching at writers’ conferences, she co-hosts the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri. Kaley lives in the St. Louis area.

Tuesday
Jan242017

3 Ways Worry Hurts Your Kids

Cindi McMenamin is a wise woman with a heart for women and families. In this Parenting UPGRADE, she asks us to examine how our worrying might not just be our own problem.

“It’s natural for a mom to worry that her children will be hurt," Cindi says, "but do you and I ever consider how we might be hurting our children by worrying about them?”

Whenever I (Dawn) see a mom in a worried state, I watch her children. It's so apparent how a mom's worries and fears affect little ones!

Cindi continues . . .

Take a look at what worry does to us, and ultimately, to our children:

1. Worry Stresses Us Out - Which Stresses Out Our Kids

Worry causes stress—and stress kills. Literally.

Stress not only impacts a woman's health, appearance, relationships, and overall quality of life, stress prematurely ages us. Worry is also linked to ulcers and other health problems.

So when you are worrying and stressed out, you are stressing out your children, as well.

By choosing not to worry, you are investing in your health, which is a gift to yourself and your family.

2. Worry Pushes Our Children Away.

One of the reasons children grow up and stop telling their parents what is going on in their lives is because they “don’t want mom to worry.”

When I was writing my book, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, I asked daughters, ages 12-40, about their relationships with their moms. Through their answers, I discovered that most daughters, regardless of their ages, said their moms worried about them too much.

They knew mom cared for them, but it concerned them, and at times annoyed them, that their mothers worried so much.

By choosing not to worry, you are investing in your relationship with your children and keeping the channels of communication open with them, regardless of their ages.  

3. Worry Models Mistrust to Our Children.

Worry says to our children and others: "God can't work this out." Therefore, worry is the sin of having no confidence in God.

I know that you, like me, aren’t consciously thinking those words when you worry. But I also know you don’t want to display that type of mistrust to your children.

How we live will, to a great degree, impact how our children live. What we worry about, they will tend to worry about.

On the flip side of that, where we put our trust will greatly impact how they will choose to handle situations in life, too.

Even if they don't imitate your faith or degree of trust, they will know on Whom you rely (or don’t rely) and it speaks louder to them than any lecture. 

The choices we make—including whether we decide to worry or trust God—will no doubt influence our children's choices well into their adulthood.

We tend to think that how much we worry is an indication of how much we love our children. But it is actually an indication of how little we know God. Because the more we get to know God as the all-knowing, all-loving, Perfect Parent, the more easily we will trust Him with what is most important to us and experience peace, no matter what happens.

God gave us a formula in His Word to help us stop the worry:

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).

The very next verse tells us how to stop the worrying, so we can experience that kind of peace that comes through praying about everything:

"… Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise" (verse 8).

There it is.

  • Think about what is true, not what “might happen.”
  • Focus on the facts of the situation, not your fears.
  • Think on God’s character—that which is honorable and pure and lovely and admirable—and what He can do, not the worst possible scenario.

As you focus on God’s goodness, God’s love, and God’s ability to control all that you cannot, there is no room in your mind for fear or worry.

Trust God with your children. He can control all you think you must and all you are convinced you can’t. And He knows exactly what He’s doing in your child’s life – and yours.

What will you start doing today to stop worrying about your children and start trusting God with them?

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and popular author who helps women find strength for the soul. She is the author of several books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter,  and her  newest book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, upon which this post is based.  For more on her ministry, discounts on her books, or free resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, see her website: StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesty of stocksnap.io.